Friday, October 13, 2006

south indian breakfast: coconut-and-mango-chutney and spicy cream of wheat

Some time back I promised recipes of some of the dishes my Sanskrit teacher has been showing me how to cook. It is an interesting process of teaching. He is an orthodox brahmin and thus will not touch food cooked by anyone except brahmins. So he tells me what to do, and I follow his instructions. So far, so good. But many of the dishes are things I have never tasted myself, and since he never samples anything to give me feedback, I just make it to my own taste and call it a meal. Of course, you'll be doing the same if you try it.. Anyway, here are recipes for two dishes I think are both 1) fabulous and 2) possible to cook with ingredients found in your local Asian market. And they go together. And, they are things I have actually tasted before, so I know it comes out the way it is supposed to.

Coconut and Mango Chutney

You need: a whole coconut; a green mango - not ripe, green; fenugreek seeds; mustards seeds; green chilies; turmeric poweder and salt. Asafoetida if you have it. Oh, and a food processor.

Heat oil a bit but don’t let it get too hot. Throw in a good teaspooon (my teacher here calls it a 'respectable amount' of) fenugreek and mustard seeds. Fry them and when mustard seeds just start to pop, take it off the heat. Let it cool a bit but not all the way. break up red chilies, add a dash of asafoetida (don't worry if you don;t have this.) Chop up a big peeled green mango into small pieces and chopped up meat of one coconut. add turmeric and salt. Eat with rice, with upama, with whatever you like, but eat it soon, it stays good only a couple of days. This is a kind of condiment.

Upama (A Kind of Spicy Cream of Wheat)

For this you need: cream of wheat; a green chili or two; cumin seeds; mustards seeds, urad dal (Indian shops will have it, don't worry); and salt. Asafoetida but only if you have it. This recipe is for one portion, so multiply as needed.

In a generous amount of oil (maybe four teaspoons), fry equal amounts of mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and urad dal. When it starts to turn brown, add a green chili or two depending on your tolerance for heat, and a dash of asafoetida. As soon as the green chili is in the pot, add about a cup of water, maybe three or four times the amount of cream of wheat you will be using. Bring to a boil and add two good pinches of salt. When it has hit a rolling boil, take about a quarter cup of cream of wheat and slowly add t in a steady stream, mixing continuously to avoid clumping. Reduce the heat, cover and let simmer for a couple of minutes. Not too long. Then mix once just turning it over, so what was on the bottom comes to the top and vice versa. Let it sit again, covered, for another minute or two. Then you are ready to eat. Be sure to eat it while it's piping hot. Much better that way.

You can also make this with cashews. Use only raw, not roasted. You drop them in after the mustard, cumin and urda dal is brown and right before the green chilies. Then just stir once or twice until the color of the cashews begins to change. Then add chilies, water and continue from there.

Eat this with the coconut and mango chutney, and you will be having a typical Andhra breakfast!


gujugalpal said...

Mmmmmmm, tasty. I do miss the coconut-mango chutney!

damchö said...

you and me both. don't get it up here in the north.. certainly not in the dhabas of sarnath!